India v England, 3rd Test, Mumbai, 4th day
March 21, 2006
Kumble's leash and an unlikely chase
Bowling round the wicket, pitching in the rough outside leg stump, Anil Kumble was extremely hard to get away and went at a measly 1.63 runs per over
England would have started the fourth day with the aim of quickly extending their lead past 300 and having a crack at the Indian batsmen for the best part of the last session. But Anil Kumble was reading from a different script. Bowling round the wicket, pitching in the rough outside leg stump, he was extremely hard to get away from and went at a measly 1.63 runs per over.
Kumble bowled 33 balls to Owais Shah and conceded just 3 runs. Even Andrew Flintoff, whose strike rate of 34.48 during his 50 was his lowest for an innings over 25 runs, could manage just 16 runs off 51 deliveries.
Harbhajan Singh also had a welcome return to form after being woefully out of sorts for most of the series. He pitched 70% of his deliveries just outside off or on off stump and got them to turn and bounce into the right-hander. He kept Flintoff quieter than Kumble - conceding 17 runs off 59 balls and could have had him stumped when on 14.
If India chase their target of 313, they will set a new record for the highest successful chase in India beating 276 achieved by West Indies at Delhi in 1987. The highest fourth-innings total at the Wankhede is 266, chasing 363, by West Indies in November 1994.
Only once has India chased a target of beyond 300 (406 for 4 at Port of Spain in April 1976). They have achieved a target of over 250 only on two other occasions - 264 for 3 at Kandy in 2001, and 256 for 8 against Australia at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai in 1964.
England's run rate of 2.07 in the second innings was their slowest in the last two years. The last four times England scored at a slower rate all came in Sri Lanka - at Kandy (285 off 40 overs) and Galle (210 off 108 overs) in December 2003, and twice at Galle (189 off 110.3 overs and 253 off 132.3 overs) in January 2001.
George Binoy is editorial assistant of Cricinfo
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